1) Census 2020 Is Here
March marked the beginning of the 2020 US Census, with mailers going out via USPS March 12-20. In addition to determining congressional representation, Census data informs how over $675 billion in federal funds is distributed to schools, hospitals, fire departments, and programs like Medicaid, Head Start, block grants for community mental health, and more.
You can complete your household’s Census form online, by phone or by USPS mail. Submitting your form before May 2020 greatly facilitates the process and ensures that census takers do not need to follow up with a visit to your home. If someone does come to your home, the Census Bureau recommends that you check to make sure that they have a valid ID badge with photograph, a Dept. of Commerce watermark, and an expiration date.
For more information check the Census document you received by mail or go to https://2020census.gov/en.html. You can complete the form online in about 10 minutes. You can also complete the census over the phone at 1-844-330-2020. All responses are confidential and immigration status is not a consideration: everyone living in the US must be counted, regardless of status.
2) Stapleton Farmers Market Gets a Reboot
Nicole Jarman is optimistic about a new and improved Stapleton Farmers Market opening in June. “We’ve planned a really full and beautiful market,” she says, with an emphasis on local foods and food-related items. Jarman’s company, HobNob Events, recently assumed management of the market, and she gathered input from neighbors to ensure that the 53 vendors accepted to participate were all meeting what the community needs and wants. “Less CBD” and more music were among the key takeways from the input. Informational booths are not permitted, addressing a further complaint people shared via social media. Reducing waste is another emphasis, with a focus on reducing the use of plastic bags and non-compostable materials, and eliminating the use of plastic straws and other single-use plastics. The first market is scheduled for June 7; the evolving COVID-19 situation will determine whether that date will be possible. Though all weekly spots are currently filled, drop-in vendors can contact her about booth space due to occasional cancellations. For updates on dates, drop-in spots, and vendors visit hobnobevents.com/stapleton-farmers-market/
3) Blood Banks Are Facing a Shortage. Please Give.
Blood banks are facing a severe shortage. As of March 18, according to the New York Times, over 4,500 blood drives nationally had been canceled, resulting in almost 150,000 fewer donations. “Blood drives at high schools and colleges have had to be canceled,” says Brooke Way, Marketing Specialist with Vitalant (formerly Bonfils), located in Lowry. The process is quick and the Vitalant staff follow “rigorous safety protocols on a daily basis.”
Though experts do not believe COVID-19 can be transmitted through donor blood, they do ask that anyone who has been sick recently or traveled to countries with “sustained widespread COVID-19 outbreaks” not donate. Precise donation criteria are available on their website. Vitalant and other blood donation centers do not test for COVID-19. Donors as young as 16 can give with parental consent. All blood types are needed.
Appointments are encouraged. To schedule an appointment, go to https://www.vitalant.org/Home.aspx or call 303-363-2300; Children’s Hospital Blood Donor Center: https://www.childrenscolorado.org/community/donate-volunteer/give-blood/ or call 720-777-5398.
4) RTD Service Reductions Planned for May to Start April 19
Due to reduced ridership, RTD has been soliciting community input and had planned to start the reduced schedule in May. However, with a 70% decrease in ridership due to COVID-19, the RTD Board voted on March 24 to start the reduced services on April 19. “The initial changes shift most bus service to a Saturday schedule and light rail service to a Sunday schedule…The weekend levels of service that were approved reduce service by about 40% from current levels,” according to a press release. The service changes can be found at: https://www.rtd-denver.com/service-changes/may-2020. These changes will remain in effect until Sept. 20.
5) Senior Housing
Groundbreaking for Kappa Tower II, a 70-unit apartment building that will offer affordable housing for seniors, was held on Feb. 28 to commemorate the long-awaited project. Kappa Tower II, located on the southwest corner of Central Park and Northfield boulevards, is expected to open in March of 2021. The project is being led by the Denver Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi (DBA Kappa Housing) and built by Alliance Construction Solutions. More information to come as the project progresses.
6) Denver Initial Economic Relief Package for Businesses, Employees
On March 19, the City announced it is creating an initial relief fund of $4 million to support businesses most directly disrupted by COVID-19 so they can support their employees.
Denver Economic Development and Opportunity’s (DEDO) emergency relief program will provide cash grants up to $7,500 to qualifying small businesses.
(DAV) will award grants up to $1,000 to individual artists who live in Denver whose incomes are being adversely affected by cancellations.
Through April 18, the Denver Dept. of Transportation and Infrastructure (DOTI) will suspend enforcement of:
- Parking meters, time-limited, non-metered parking areas (e.g., 30-minute, 1-hour), residential permit parking areas, 72-hour limits for parking in one spot, large vehicle parking (people can park vehicles more than 22’ in length on the street), school bus loading zones, booting.
- Denver’s street sweeping program begins April 1; however, the city will not enforce street sweeping restrictions through April 18, though people are asked to move vehicles as they are able.
- The following enforcement activities will continue: fire hydrant 10-foot clear zone, “no stopping” or “no parking” zones, loading zones, RTD transit stops, special parking permitted spaces (accessible, CarShare, etc.), blocked driveways and alleys, parking in travel lanes, including bike and transit lanes.
- Extensions of the changes will be evaluated and made on a month-by-month basis.
For info and how to apply for relief funding opportunities visit https://www.denvergov.org/content/denvergov/en/environmental-health/news/coronavirus-info/support-services.html
While the city’s Workforce Centers are closed, workforce services will be offering 1:1 services online, by phone, and via email. Hiring events are now a month-long virtual job fair. For more information, visit https://www.denvergov.org/content/denvergov/en/environmental-health/news/coronavirus-info/support-services.html